Saturday, 16 April 2005

Rally for rail re-nationalisation

The Rail and Transport Union held a rally in Glasgow yesterday, calling for re-nationalisation of the railways. Their aim was to place pressure on the major parties in the run up to the 5th May general election.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Public ownership of the railways will provide a better deal for travellers."

He added: "Public ownership will allow proper transport planning to cope with increased demand for travel due to new developments and the need to reduce road traffic to get cleaner air."

People prefer to use their cars because of the greater freedom exercised whilst driving it. IMO, the rail network should be extended, in addition to more trains in operation.

Most people believe that rail privatisation was a disaster. Amongst the major privatisations of the Thatcher/Major years, it was by far the worst.

But I believe this is the case due to the nature of the privatisation. The Major Conservative government allowed a private company (Railtrack) to own the infrastructure, whilst the train companies ran the train services (such as WAGN, Connex, etc.). Such an arrangement was wholly flawed.

Japan privatised its railways with some success. It used a different model to the Conservative government and the Japanese people are pleased with their train services. In Japan, different companies ran the services and the infrastructure in specific geographical areas.

I'm no fan of re-nationalisation, but I feel the railways should follow the Japanese model.